In the class I'm taking from creativity guru Eric Maisel, last week's question was about how we get ourselves (or our clients) to write/create in the middle of things. Many of us have a deep longing to express ourselves artistically, whether it's cooking a special meal, learning to paint, singing in a chorus, writing a novel or a collection of short stories.
Some of these carry with them accountability to a group. You can invite folks over for a gourmet meal and have an automatic deadline, or you can join a chorus and commit to their rehearsal schedule. The things we do alone are tougher to follow through on, and some of us--nay, many of us--seem to want to wait until things are perfect before we start. We want the calendar cleared, our energy levels to be high, our concentration to be in peak form, and our muse ready and able and present to help. Unfortunately, life usually intervenes. We've got extra work for our job or a sick friend or a class we've been wanting to take suddenly has an opening or we get tapped to organize a surprise birthday party for our old dad or we don't feel good or we're not in the mood. And so we put it off again. Writing or creating goes to the back of the line, to the bottom of the list of things to do.
Our challenges as creatives are to get past all that and create anyway, in the middle of things. Sometimes that means choosing writing over an evening with friends. Sometimes it means getting up early every day to get it in first thing, or doing it in the evenings instead of watching the newly arrived Netflix DVD. It means keeping art supplies out and doing it as a five-minute break from another activity. It means making writing/creating such a priority that it becomes automatic like flossing or making tea in the morning or feeding the cats.
Every morning I find time to feed the cats, make tea, write in my journal, meditate. My challenge is to find time in that pre-work space for my novel. I sometimes wish I had a muse that was as insistent as my cats.